NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian billionaire tycoon Mukesh Ambani, who controls India’s biggest wireless carrier Reliance Jio Infocomm, said on Wednesday the country should prioritise the rollout of 5G telecommunications and also ensure devices become affordable.
India, the world’s second-biggest telecoms market with more than a billion subscribers, must migrate from 2G to 4G and then to 5G at the earliest, Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries and Asia’s richest man, said during the Indian Mobile Congress.
“At Jio, we are currently focused on 4G and 5G execution, and broadband infrastructure expansion.”
His comments come a week after a top government official said that India is planning to auction 5G airwaves early next year.
Jio, which counts Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, Qualcomm and Intel among its backers, is confident of being the first to launch 5G services in India, Ambani said previously.
As part of its technology push, Jio has also developed a homegrown 5G solution.
Google, which last year invested $4.5 billion in Jio’s parent Jio Platforms, has also said it will help the wireless carrier with tech solutions for its enterprise and consumer offerings as it plans to launch 5G services.
Reliance last month launched 4G device jointly developed with Google, priced at 6,499 rupees ($86), as part of a plan to woo first-time smartphone buyers. The device costs 1,999 rupees upfront and users can pay the rest in monthly instalments.
($1 = 75.5000 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; editing by Uttaresh.V)